The Padres trade for Freddy Galvis is arguably their best move of the offseason. While it cost a top 20 prospect to land the former Phillie, Galvis is an underated shortstop who should greatly help San Diego.
On offense, Galvis has true 20/20 potential. The past two seasons he has hit at least 12 home runs with 14 stolen bases. In 2016 he hit 20 home runs with 17 stolen bases. Galvis should be an above average fixture atop the Padres’ lineup.
Galvis is also one of the best defenders in the league. He was a finalist for the National League Gold Glove last season and has a career .984 fielding percentage. With the Padres having so many ground ball pitchers in their rotation, Galvis’ defense will be key.
The 28 year old looks like an amazing addition for the Padres, even if it is just for one season. However there are a bit more question marks on who will be Galvis’ backup.
Currently Cory Spangenberg and Christian Villanueva are the only bench infielders projected to make the 25-man roster. However Spangenberg has never spent time at shortstop and Villanueva has only played three games there. San Diego needs a more dependable option.
Padres’ General Manager A.J. Preller made his intentions of finding a backup option clear. Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported on that interest, writing:
"Preller said the Padres are seeking a versatile veteran infielder who can back up Freddy Galvis at shortstop"
A “versatile veteran infielder” is a bit ambiguous. There are plenty of those still available. However using past knowledge, we could form a list of potential Padres’ targets.
Prior to trading for Freddy Galvis, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported that the Padres were interested in many veteran shortstops. He went on to say that San Diego had definite interest in former Royal Alcides Escobar.
Escobar has been in the MLB for the past 10 seasons, spending time with Milwaukee and Kansas City. During that time he has appeared in 1,297 games, hitting .260 with 37 home runs, 408 RBIs and 166 stolen bases.
Escobar has also been extremely durable during his time in the major leagues. He has appeared in all 162 games in 3 of the past 4 seasons and has played in at least 145 games in every season except his first two in the league.
He is a Gold Glove level defender with good speed and a dependable bat. While he wouldn’t be playing every day like usual, he would be one of the better backup shortstops in the league. Escobar has less power than Galvis but can play the same level of defense, and comes much cheaper.
Escobar wouldn’t suddenly make the Padres a World Series contender, but he would be a worthy addition. Getting him for backup money, he would be able to spell Galvis due to injury and could likely play elsewhere on the diamond. He’s a defensive wizard with a bat to spare, exactly what the Padres want.
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Adding Escobar could also potential help in the team’s pursuit of Eric Hosmer. The two played together from 2011-2017. Knowing Escobar is with the Padres could make his transition to San Diego much easier.
While Escobar wouldn’t be the savior, he is an above average backup defensive shortstop and an excellent player to add to their bench.
In Heyman’s report both J.J. Hardy and Alexi Amarista were listed. However they seemed more like guesses than his actual reported interest in Escobar.
The San Diego Padres still have a bit of work to do before the season begins. Per Preller, adding a backup shortstop is key. While it’s not known if there is still interest, San Diego was once interested in signing Alcides Escobar. If they still are, the former Royal gives the Padres an excellent defender who could put the ball in play and make plays with his feet.
And who knows, maybe that Royals connection brings Eric Hosmer to the West Coast.